The unthinkable has happened in Cuba.
Government authorities, who had banned professional boxing since 1962, have announced that Cuban fighters will be allowed to accept money as soon as May in a series of fights promoted by Gold Ring Promotions, according to multiple reports. ESPN first reported the news.
The Federacion Cubano de Boxeo (FCB) released a statement to BoxingScene.com.
“Three and a half years ago a serious analysis began that has resulted in the approved agreement and well seen by the direction of the country’s sport and the Cuban Boxing Federation with Golden Ring Promotions, for the representation of Cuba in its entry into professional boxing,” FCB President Alberto Puig said.
“The continuous sports and competitive preparation of Cuban boxers to continue representing and raising the name of Cuban boxing in all competitions where it forms part and the economic benefit it represents for boxers, coaching staff and medical triad that work with the team, are one of the main objectives.”
The Cubans intend to showcase their top fighters, including Olympic medal winners Lazaro Alvarez, Andy Cruz, Roniel Iglesias, Julio Cesar La Cruz and Arlen Lopez, according to BoxingScene.
The outlet reported that Cuban boxers have been training in Mexico since this past summer. The May show evidently is expected to take place in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
“We have contemplated that six of the main figures of the Domadores de Cuba take part in six-round fights in at least four events this year,” Puig said. “The upcoming month of May is being considered for Cuba’s beginnings in professional boxing.”
Cuba has had one of the most successful amateur programs over the past half century. However, the late dictator Fidel Castro banned professional boxing in 1962.
Boxers from Cuba have had to defect to enter the paid ranks. And many have enjoyed success, including Jose Napoles, Joel Casamayor, Erislandy Lara, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Yordenis Ugas.
Fans never had the opportunity to see such great Cuban boxers as Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon beyond their amateur careers.